Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Jason Bourne

Over the course of three movies from 2002-2007, Matt Damon explored the essential question of the Bourne franchise: who is Jason Bourne? Ultimatum gave him (and us) the answer: Jason Bourne is David Webb, a former soldier who volunteered to be a part of Treadstone, a secret organization that essentially turned him into a killing machine. With his identity issues finally solved, the story came to an end...or so we thought.

Jason Bourne
Co-writer/Director: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Julia Stiles, Vincent Cassel


Friday, July 15, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise, so it makes sense that this summer's Star Trek Beyond in some ways feels like a throwback to the original series and has plenty of nods to the franchise's past. Thankfully, it isn't as much of an obvious retread of past material as Star Trek Into Darkness, largely due to the wise decision of director Justin Lin (Fast Five) and co-writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung to put the Enterprise crew squarely in the middle of their five-year mission to explore strange new worlds. This allows for the sorts of fresh moments, new species, and exploratory feeling many Trek fans felt were lacking in the previous two movies, and while this one definitely has some terrific moments, I still can't help but wish we got a more cerebral version of this story than the one we ended up with.

Star Trek Beyond
Director: Justin Lin
Starring: Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Ghostbusters: Answer The Call

When a female-led reboot of Ghostbusters was announced, I never could have anticipated just how terrible internet commenters would react to the news. More toxic hatred was spilled online about this movie than any in recent memory, and things only got worse when the trailers started coming out. Having loved director Paul Feig's previous film, Spy, which also had some awful trailers advertising it, I held out the slightest sliver of faith that Ghostbusters (which has now officially been retitled Ghostbusters: Answer The Call to avoid confusion with the original) would end up being worthwhile...so it's with a massive sigh of relief I tell you that the movie is pretty damn good.

Ghostbusters: Answer The Call
Director: Paul Feig
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon


Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets

Not all animation has to reach the lofty standards of Pixar, Walt Disney Animation, or Miyazaki. Since there will always be a generation of kids who have never seen a movie before, it stands to reason that there will always be a market for slapstick humor aimed directly at them. Illumination Entertainment — they of the Despicable Me movies, Hop, and now The Secret Life of Pets — seem to have that particular market cornered, and the company is seemingly content with churning out the kinds of movies whose highlights can best be described with a phrase like, "Well, at least I was sitting in air conditioning for an hour and a half."

The Secret Life of Pets
Directors: Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney
Starring: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate